Wale threatens Complex magazine after omission from year-end list

Wale at a party in June celebrating the release of his album "The Gifted," which did not make Complex magazine's list of the 50 best albums of 2013.
(Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images for Moet Rose)

Note to music journalists crafting their year-end lists: Omitting Wale has dire consequences.

As most publications are rolling out lists of their top albums of the year – Pop & Hiss’ year-end review is right around the corner – Complex magazine issued a list of its 50 best albums of the year on Monday.

Daft Punk made the list, as did 2 Chainz, Arcade Fire, Haim, Eminem, Drake and Kanye, whose polarizing “Yeezus” took the top spot.

Not on the list? Wale. And he didn’t take the news kindly.


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The rapper, who scored a No. 1 album this year with “The Gifted,” called the New York offices of the publication and unleashed a furious tirade on an editor.

“At this point, you know it’s got to be personal. You telling me it’s not personal. It’s like a bold face lie,” the rapper said to associate editor Insanul Ahmed. “To be omitted from every type of list that y’all do or be at the bottom of it or every type of way that y’all can omit me, [you] will.”

Ahmed attempted to inform Wale that the omission was not a personal attack. The rapper wanted to hear none of it, and continued to raise his voice before falling into a full-on verbal assault.


“You mean to tell me Juicy J album better than mine?” Wale screamed before threatening to show up at Complex’s New York offices and knock out staffers before hanging up on Ahmed. (The magazine reported about the exchange, including a recording of the expletive-filled rant.)

Ahmed wrote that Wale’s management declined an actual invitation to the Complex office to have a conversation, minus the screaming and threats of violence.

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The meltdown is hilarious, of course, but also rather sad.


Year-end lists are subjective. They reflect the tastes of the writers and editors who create them. Sure there’s a level of indulgence to be expected, but the greatest thing about year-end lists is that no two are the same.

Lists are a great way to cap off the year, and a rewarding glimpse of albums that had an effect on fellow music journalists. An album could have scored a ton of Grammy noms, sales and hit singles but didn’t touch a writer as much as a mixtape that dropped without any buzz. It’s up to the critics and editors, period.

Wale displayed a petulant sense of entitlement, and embarassed himself in the process. You didn’t make a best of list for one publication. So you call and curse them out? Absolutely foolish.

The rapper released an Instagram video poking fun at his attack on Complex shortly after the audio of the phone call went viral. He needs to apologize instead.



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